26 November 2014 - Security Council - UNSC wrap up for the month of November - Statement by Mr Philippe Bertoux, Political Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations
I would first like to thank you, Mr. President, and your entire team for all the work done in November. The programme was extremely tightly packed, which sometimes gave the impression of running the New York marathon here too in the Council, but at a pace not quite as fast as the sprinters. You, Sir, conducted our debates with as much rigour as enthusiasm. In that regard, your second presidency reflects your outstanding two-year balance sheet in the Council, for which we thank you.
While the media focused on Syria, the situation in Gaza and Jerusalem and counter-terrorism — regarding which Australia has been fully mobilized during its tenure — let us not forget that crises in Africa are and will remain a major topic for the Security Council, where it is heavily invested politically and through peacekeeping operations and where what the Council does can make a difference. I shall therefore devote most of statement to those issues.
The brainstorming meeting on the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) held by the Security Council on 10 November, following the proposal made by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations,was an innovative and productive exercise. I would like to thank the presidency and the Secretariat in particular for successfully organizing that interactive informal debate. The meeting enabled Council members to address very directly all aspects, political and security-related, relating to the tense situation in northern Mali. Council members expressed a strong consensus, on the one hand, to continue to put pressure on the Malian parties to complete the Algiers peace negotiations on their terms and in a spirit of compromise and, on the other hand, to take all the necessary measures to strengthen security for the Blue Helmets of MINUSMA, with the support of Operation Barkhane, so that they can fully carry out their very robust mandate to stabilize northern Mali.
The proposals made by the Secretariat to the Council for that meeting and the President’s summary are valuable in helping us to make progress. We expect that the next report of the Secretary-General on Mali in late December will report on the implementation of the proposed measures. After the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), we can say that the MINUSMA is now the second laboratory on peacekeeping in a complex environment. As we did this month for Mali, we need to be able to reflect collectively in an innovative, more interactive and more concrete fashion to allow peacekeeping operations to cope with new situations on the ground. We believe that the formula tested in Mali deserves to be taken up in the future.
Turning to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, one year after the Mouvement du 23 Mars (M-23) was defeated, which was a milestone for the country and for the reputation of the United Nations on the ground, many challenges remain. On the security front, while the protection of civilians and the neutralization of armed groups are the Council’s priority, obstacles remain: the voluntary disarmament of the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda is deadlocked, the upsurge in violent attacks in the Beni region shows that sustainable neutralization of the Allied Democratic Forces is not yet a reality, and the demobilization and reintegration of former M-23 combatants is delayed. Moreover, the political situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is tense in the context of the sensitive pre-electoral situation. The members of the Council are concerned about the slow implementation of the reforms agreed to by the Government in the context of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region, signed in Addis Ababa, which remains the basis for a lasting settlement of the crisis in the Great Lakes region. In that fragile context, the expulsion of the head of the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office by the authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is disturbing.
The strategic review expected in late December will be an opportunity to make a first assessment of resolutions 2098 (2013) and 2147 (2014) on how to continue strengthening MONUSCO. We can never overemphasize the importance of the protection of civilians, which should be active and effective. Neutralizing armed groups is necessary, but the return to sustainable stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo cannot be achieved without the implementation of the necessary reforms by the Democratic Republic of the Congo and without firm resolve on the part of the signatories to the Framework Agreement to respect their commitments. МОNUSCO also has a crucial role to play.
The review of those two major peacekeeping operations naturally leads me to mention the review of peacekeeping operations by the Secretary-General. Last week the Security Council had discussions with members of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, chaired by Мr. Ramos-Horta. It is good to step back and to reflect on how to strengthen and adapt a tool — peacekeeping operations and political missions — that sometimes suffers from its own success. In that regard, we thank Australia for its initiative of introducing the first Council resolution (resolution 2185 (2014)) on the role of police in peacekeeping operations. That initiative will make a useful contribution to the thinking on an increasingly important and complex dimension of our operations.
We expect the review of peacekeeping operations to lead to concrete proposals aimed at improving the effectiveness of peacekeeping — for example, to better fulfil what has become the core mission, that is, the protection of civilians; to speed up the deployment of missions; to ensure the cohesion of the various military, police and civilian components; and to reduce tensions on critical capacity resources, such as helicopters, personnel and financing. We also hope that the review will make it possible to move towards more flexible peacekeeping operations that are adapted to the local situation and deployed in sequence and that can be adapted if necessary, including with a clearly identified exit strategy. In the coming months France will contribute to that debate, here and in Paris, where our authorities are studying the subject and willing to support the review process.
Finally, let me turn to a matter that my delegation holds dear: the issue of human rights in the day-to-day work of the Security Council. In that regard, we welcome the presence of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid, at the last meeting on Iraq (see S/PV.7314), and the outstanding statement he delivered on that occasion. We agree with his analysis on the need to combat the deadly rhetoric of Daesh. We support his appeal to the Iraqi authorities to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. That initial interaction between the Council and the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights was very fruitful, and we hope it can be continued.
Soon the Council will take up the human rights situation in North Korea, for the General Assembly decided to refer to us the report of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, headed by Justice Kirby. The crimes described in the report, as the Commission of Inquiry states, are “unprecedented in the world today”. They may constitute crimes against humanity. The Council must not shirk its responsibilities, and must be ready to consider the contents and conclusions of that report.
Let me conclude by thanking you, dear Gary, once again, for your presidency. Chad will take up the torch in December, as France did at a similar time last year. We now know that the Council can work very hard between Christmas and New Year’s Day, which is not necessarily the best model to follow. My country wishes Chad every success.